Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What goes wrong?

Sensitive issue....I've tried a lot of diets, well I guess more like I've attempted many times to diet. I've done Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, and kind of a calorie counting thing. I did the best on WW. I lost 30 pounds when I did it in high school. I lost weight with Atkins too, but that whole no sugar thing? not MY thing. And of course just like 90% of people who go on a diet, I gained it all back and then some. So this time, I'm really trying to get 'er done! It's not like I want to have all this extra baggage around my middle. I guess I just like food, which has been a weakness. So here I am spilling my guts, so that hopefully this time I can go all the way!! Maybe I'll write updates every so often to keep myself exposed. But I would like to jot down some ideas I think might help me this time, that I've learned.

1. A lot of people don't diet for themselves. What I mean is that there's something else that's urging you to diet. It may be a friend or family member, in my case it's the "flavor of the month" aka my current crush, that I feel don't notice me because I'm a bit rotund. I've read and I believe it's true, that you have to diet for yourself and because YOU want to. My whole deal was that when I didn't see my crush anymore (moved away or had a different class schedule), or maybe he got a girlfriend, my diet-esteem went down the drain. I felt like, well if this person isn't even going to notice now, why bother? It seems silly, but to me (whose never had an official boyfriend) it was hard to deal with. That's why I've decided right now, to do this for myself. Because I want to be healthy, and strong.

2. Another thing that's helped me along is one simple question, "Would I rather have this cookie, or be thin?". Almost always the answer is, "yea I'd rather be thin" and I put the temptation out of my mind. Yes there were the occasional times when I'd be so down-in-the-dumps or rebellious that I'd tell myself I would rather have the cookie. Which isn't so bad, but then one cookie would turn into two, three, etc. I guess the focus here is that maybe it's ok to have one cookie, but to limit it to only one.

3. Along with that comes the whole, "Oh I totally fell off the band wagon, I've failed my diet forever!". Believe me, I've totally thought this! It's a horrible feeling, and when it happens I usually binge more, doing more damage. As hard as it is for me, it's better to say, "ok so I had more than I should, but tomorrow will be better." I think one big key to dieting is to be optimistic! It's hard not to beat yourself up, but realize that everyone makes mistakes and it's ok.

And while I am not a perfect result of these tips, I've come to see that these are ones that do help! One thing that's hard to face is that the times I started a diet and then thought to myself "ugh, I really don't want to have to do this for 6 months. It's such a long time!", a year later I think, if I had stayed on the diet I would have lost the weight and it would be over and I would be happy. So I don't mean to turn this into a weight loss chronicle, but I'm putting myself out there so I can finally lose weight!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Politics, Politics, Politics

Ok so I don't know about you, but it seems like this election year, everyone is pretty rabid about various candidates. I for one support Obama and Hillary despite the fact that here in Utah, everyone hates Hillary. I've read her stances on issues and she has some good ideas. I really can't understand why people can't just let go, the fact that they've already been in the White House and that some don't want Bill back in there for what he did years ago (Monica, anyone?). I mean seriously, forgetting that whole scandal, President Clinton did a good job. By electing Hillary, you are not electing Bill. Get over it.

A few days ago, while I was at work, it came out that I was a Democrat. One of my co-workers who was a Republican, immediately was trying to challenge my views. It was slightly amusing when he asked questions, that most of them were really geared towards conservative views. For example, he asked if I was happy a dictator who killed millions of innocent people is dead? What was I supposed to say? "Um, no, I really wish he was still alive." I mean even the Dems can't say they're sad that Saddam is dead. People seem to not understand the fact that most do not agree with every single issue their declared party does. Political confrontation gives me a bad taste. I remember back in high school having debates with my fellow seminary students, and one boy in particular yelling and getting so close in my face that I kept getting sprayed with his spit. I am fine discussing politics, but it irks me when people get super confrontational and self-righteous. And it's the Repubes (mostly at BYU) who claim they're so righteous, but tell the Dems they're going to hell. I mean I really don't understand how people can still support the Republican Party. It is completely baffling. Let's support a party who lies to the Americans and the UN, so we can go into a country that supposedly has WMD, then never did. Let's support a President who promises to capture Osama Bin Laden, who actually killed thousands on American soil, but then hasn't done anything about it, and now is focusing on a war that shouldn't have even been started. Let's support a President who obviously cares nothing for the Constitution (the document that our country is built upon), when he voilated it multiple times, then wrote a law that gave him permission to continue violating it. But did anyone care? No, they just turned a blind eye. Let's support a party that doesn't care to do anything about global warming. Even if global warming doesn't exist, why is it sooooo horrible to just help clean up the earth? Heaven forbid we should EVER use less gas, recycle more, or use more efficient lightbulbs. This is the future people, stop dragging your feet! Until we discover another planet like Earth that we can ruin next, we should be taking care of the one we have.

Wow, that was a total tangent, but really I just get sick of people's ignorance and irresponsibility. Speak up people!!

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
-Declaration of Independence

'nuff said! ^

Monday, February 4, 2008

Buying a Digital Camera

So as I worked in a camera store for three years I am pretty well versed in the digital camera department. While I am no expert, I am going to suggest factors you should consider when getting a new digital camera (whether you are a beginner or used to the digital scene). This is not meant to make anyone feel inferior, just a few opinions and thoughts typed out.

First, decide whether you want a point-and-shoot (the small, pocket size cameras, from here on known as PAS), or a digital SLR (single lens reflex). The difference is pretty self-explanatory here. If you are just into casual shooting, get a point-and-shoot. And I'll put it this way, if you don't know what a SLR does, don't buy one. One of my biggest pet peeves, is people who think that just because they have the money, they can buy the most expensive camera their fur coat wearing butts can buy. By all means, go ahead and spend $3000 on a camera, where you won't use any function past "automatic" and waste the $2800 you shouldn't have spent in the first place. Believe me, a real photographer can tell if you are just some novice, casual photographer with an expensive camera you don't know anything about. You aren't getting anything better when you use a great camera, like it's a PAS.

Second, it's important to know the facts behind mega pixels. This is different between PAS cameras and SLR's. For PAS, do not buy a camera with as many mega pixels as you can find. I recommend the maximum mega pixel amount is 7-8. Yes, you will see the occasional 9-12 mega pixel PAS, but you are wasting your money and photograph quality. The device that records the photo you take (the CCD chip) is only a certain size, and when you cram so many mega pixels on it, they fail to be as effective. So stick with 7-8 mega pixels. With SLR's, 8-12 mega pixels is a good range. Since SLR's are bigger, their CCD chip is bigger therefore allowing more room for pixels. This advice is mainly for amateur SLR's, aka the lower end SLR's (under $1000) sold at stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City.

Third factor to consider is brand. In the store I worked at, we took cameras in for repair, so I know pretty well what brands hold up the best. My favorite and personal brand is Canon ( I hardly ever had people bring them in for repairs. I myself have used Canon cameras for 5 or so years, and I've never had a mechanical problem. Not to say that they never have issues, but you're chance of having one is less likely. Yes, they are slightly more money, but the money you'll save not having to pay for repairs is worth the extra $20-50. There isn't even a camera that comes in second to Canon, and I am very biased towards them, but trust me, it's worth it. The new Canon SD1100 is a great option (the blue camera pictured above, also comes in several other colors). A few more brands I like and are decent cameras, are Pentax, Casio, Olympus, and Fuji. Sony is ok, but not great. The newer Nikon's might seem cool and sleek, but the flash distance is pretty short, especially when using the zoom. The brand (at least in the digital division, they make nice darkroom stuff) I hate the most is Kodak. They are cheap, plastic and easily breakable. People assume that since it's a Kodak, it's going to be good, due to the reputation Kodak has in the FILM world. Don't be fooled! It might be a nice camera for a child to play around with, but most customers who had them weren't impressed. In terms of SLR's Canon (popular Canon XTi, above) again takes my vote, but Nikon does a great job in this category too. I'm a tad wary of Sony, since they've only been in the digital SLR market for a little over a year (they bought out Minolta). Olympus and Pentax are decent, but the big guys are still Canon and Nikon.

Lastly, there are a lot of little things to consider when buying a new camera. Screen size (the larger the screen the more battery it uses), the feel of the camera in your hand (easy to hold?), style, etc. Also, remember that optical zoom is BETTER than digital zoom. My first digital, the Canon A300 (pictured right) had only 5.1x digital zoom, and no optical. Typically, optical zoom these days is 3-4x. Most if not all cameras have about 4x digital zoom. Try to use digital zoom as little as you can. Another thing a consumer tends to not realize is that with the larger screen sizes, the manufacturer has gotten rid of the viewfinder. While this may not seem important to some, consider this: when taking a photo in the bright sunlight, it makes it extremely difficult, and almost impossible to see what you're taking a picture of, because the screen can't compete with the sun. With a viewfinder, you have another option if in case you cannot use the screen on the back. That's another thing about Canon, is that they haven't gotten caught up the whole "my screen is bigger than yours" thing. They usually stick to a 2.5" screen and still KEEP the viewfinder. In addition, consider the battery used. Most use a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, but more basic models sometimes use AA's. Both have their pros and con's. Lithium-ion batteries usually last longer and are rechargeable, but if the battery dies, they cost $40 to buy a new one. AA's on the other hand don't last as long, but if they run out of power, they are easily (and cheaply) replaced. Rechargeable AA's are the best bet if you have to use AA's at all. Don't forget to go to a store and actually play around with the camera. Try different ones. Use the different features. Educate yourself. If you find one you like, read consumer ratings on a site like (which is the most widely known, and therefore more well-rounded reviews). That way you can see what flaws the camera might have that you would not have known otherwise.

So basically those are my two cents (or two dollars, as we must keep up with inflation) to keep the guess work out of buying a digital camera. If you follow this advice, you will have a camera that you will enjoy for years to come!!


So yes, I have actually joined the world of blogging!! I know they're a little cliche, or whatever, but it might serve a little bit as a journal of some sort. My last blogs are from awhile ago on myspace, and this way people can find out what I'm up to, I guess if they care. lol

Right now, I'm in Utah. I was attending BYU for Fall semester, but now I am just chillin', looking for a full-time job to do for the next three months. At the end of April, I will be going to Alaska!! I am sooooo excited!! I will be driving one of those big coach buses. Currently, I am training to drive them, and come April I will be the proud owner of a CDL!! Then I will be able to drive all sorts of vehicles! I know you're all jealous!! Anyway, I plan on livin' it up in Alaska, earning tons of money and taking awesome pictures!! Apparently, as a cruise line employee, we get to do all this fun stuff free since we have to sell it up to passengers. For example, helicopter rides up to glaciers, gold panning, etc. And I already have plans on getting a digital SLR (probably the new Canon XSi, due out in April) and I am super excited to finally get one! I mean I've been a photographer for almost 6 years and I still have yet to make the leap into the digital SLR world. At first I was a little hesitant to enter the world of digital SLR's. I already had a little point-and-shoot digital camera and I thought, "why spend the $1000+?". And as much as I LOVE film, digital helps with getting the best shot, as you can see the photos right away as opposed to waiting to get the film developed, and therefore can just keep shooting until you get the right one. Plus there's the benefits of having a controllable shutter speed and aperature...but, yea stop me before I run off on a camera tangent! (that will be my next blog "How to shop for a digital camera") haha, no seriously...

I've also been trying new sports! After a Christmas, and birthday of snowboarding gifts, I finally got to put it all to use! Abby, Trent and I went up to Brighton and I tried snowboarding for the very first time! They make it look so easy! I swear I was on my butt most of the time, and for 3 days afterwards, my arms were as sore as a mother! I'm aching (no pun intended)to go again soon though!! Abby and Trent have also gotten me into rock climbing!! It is awesome! I'm almost addicted!! It works not only your muscles, but also your mind, while you try to figure out the next hold to grab onto.

My next challenge is to find a full-time job in the middle of the semester with most places not needing new employees....