Sunday, December 23, 2007

They Are Married!

Well, the wedding is over; Mark and Shelley are married. My parents are headed back to Texas for the next month, and Torrey and I have finally had a little time to rest. It is about time for bed now, so all I will do now is post some of the pictures I took at the wedding. Enjoy!

Mark Watches Shelley Walk Down the Aisle

Shelley Beaming

The Kiss

Dad Watches Them Leave the Church

Torrey the Bridesmaid Frolics in the Park

Cailey on the Swings

The Happy Couple

A Few Peruvian Friends Who Came from out of Town

The Wheels are Turning

Shelley's Work

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Flying Headlong Through the Chaos


The weather here in So. Cal. has been pretty typical for Christmas time, which means that it has been rather warm. We have actually had a couple of nights that may have dipped down as low as the high 30's, but we have also had some days near 80. So I have posted a picture that I took a few years back in Tahoe as a reminder that is in fact winter.

Handy Andy

Last night we were at my Grandparents' again. I guess the main purpose of the gathering was for the Hopsons and Nystroms to get to know each other a bit. After the crowd left we did get a little bit done on wedding preparations. The reception location does not allow fire, so we worked on some modified electronic candles. We got a bunch of LED tealight candles, which we are making into taper lights. In the picture above, my cousin Andrew is soldering wires to the spot where the LED used to be. Those wires will run through a hole that we drilled in a normal taper candle with the light at the top where the wick once was. They should look pretty cool when they are done, but the project has at least been a fun one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wedding Plans

O The Sweetness

Christmas is coming quickly, and it has been busier than ever around here. Torrey and I haven't been super involved, but quite a bit of what could have otherwise been free time has been spent with my family making preparations for Shelley and Mark's wedding on Friday. Last night we worked on party favors, and tonight I think we will be putting together center-pieces for the tables at the reception. Friday is coming soon. On top of that, our anniversary is on Thursday, and of course, Christmas is coming shortly thereafter, followed by my trip to the Philippines. Hmm, I don't know if I have mentioned that on here. I am headed to the Philippines for the first half of January with a group from our church. I am going as the official photographer for the trip and as a general helper in whatever needs to be done, but primarily I am going to see if that may be where Torrey and I will be directing our pursuit of missions. So, all that to say, this is a very busy Christmas. May we not get too busy to think deeply about the incarnation and worship the Creator who entered creation to draw men to Himself. Praise be to the Lord our God!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Another Semester in the Bag

We Left In A Hurry

I have finished semester #5 of my Talbot adventure, and now our apartment looks a bit like the room in this photo. It has been a whirlwind of a couple weeks, but now I can relax a little (and help get things cleaned up a bit). On second thought, this next week will be busy with helping prepare for Mark and Shelley's wedding. No rest for the weary... Andrew is flying in tonight though, and it will be fun to see him again. He just finished his first semester at LeTourneau! Congrats, Andrew. I had better get going. The office Christmas lunch is over and I have some work to finish up before the weekend begins. Chao.

Saturday, December 1, 2007



Tonight Torrey's Brother Brett, his wife Stephanie, and their two little kids, Savannah and Moses came over for supper. Supper was a disaster, since Torrey had put one of her once-a-month meals in the oven to thaw and then forgot about it when she went to pre-heat the oven to bake a cake. The result was a plate full of meat with bits of melted zip-lock bag coating it. So we had pizza. The best part of the evening though was what Stephanie told us after she came back from changing 2-1/2 year old Savannah. Their conversation went as follows.

Savannah: I ike unca Aaron.
Stephanie: Oh, do you? That's nice.
Savannah: I ike poop.
Stephanie: No, you don't like poop.
Savannah: I ike pee... Sometimes.

And so goes my popularity with children. Apparently I am as much fun as a bowel movement.

Thursday, November 29, 2007



I thought before this past weekend that I had experienced some pretty terrifying examples of bad driving. I think that the taxi driver in Lima who got us to the airport in ten minutes, a trip that usually takes over half an hour, was the previous winner. But on Thanksgiving Torrey and I rode with a friend of Torrey’s Grandma to the house where we had dinner (and back again), and it topped all previous rides. This old woman was all over the road, missed a number of turns and made hair-raising u-turns to get back on track, never looking anywhere but straight in front of her, expressed a desire to make a left turn off the freeway where there was, of course, no exit, and all the while talked about how she is such a better driver now than she was when she was young. Ay ay ay. Watch out for Rossmoor drivers.

And so began our visit to Rossmoor. It was very nice to get away from LA for a few days, even though the road was probably as full as I have ever seen it. We drove up to Walnut Creek on Thursday morning, arriving just in time to head off for Thanksgiving dinner at Torrey’s Grandma’s housekeeper’s house. Friday we slept in and enjoyed the break from our normal busy lives. Friday night we went out for dinner and were treated to the beginning of the Christmas season in a small town. The main street was closed down, and restaurants were serving hot chocolate on the street and groups of people were caroling as the rest of us strolled through the town getting into a Christmassy mood. Saturday morning I woke up early, and after enjoying an apple fresh off the tree, chilled by the night air, I hiked around a bit, mostly to take pictures.

Treasure of Gold

Beauty in Death

Shine a Little Light on Me

Later on Saturday we drove to Berkeley to wander around and see the campus. Torrey’s Grandma used to work at the school, so she was excited for us to see it.


Peek a Boo

I tried to get some studying done while we were away, but of course, I ended up getting very little done. So I planned on doing some when we got home, but after a long day of driving in traffic I felt less like studying than I had over the weekend. Here is a shot from our drive home (on the freeway, naturally).

Moving at the Speed of Traffic

Fortunately, my studies have been coming along well this week, and I have just two more weeks before the semester is over!

Monday, November 26, 2007

What a Mess

I just noticed this morning that the website I host most of my photos on is having some serious technical difficulties. I hope this gets set straight soon, but until then, the photos on here are quite badly tweaked, and most of them are not even my pictures. Oh well. We'll see what happens.


The mixup stirred up quite a commotion in the zooomr community, and it was quickly set right. There are now no more strange Japanese pictures on my blog. Thanks, zooomr.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Torrey's Birthday

CO 42

This picture is a bit old, but I am posting it because Torrey likes it. It is from last fall when we drove up to Colorado for one day to join Torrey's parents at the tail end of her Dad's hunting trip. Her Dad didn't get anything that time, but her uncle shot an elk, which we got to help cut up after driving through the night to get there.

CO 11

But I digress. Yesterday was Torrey's birthday. The day started out nicely, since Torrey is in the process of jury selection and didn't have to show up at the courthouse until 11:00. Tuesday is a school day for me, but my first class isn't until 10:30, so I got up to do some studying while Torrey slept in, and then I woke her up with breakfast in bed. Then last night we went out for dinner - a rare treat for us. Since it was a special occasion I chose a nice little place in Uptown Whittier that serves crepes, which were positively amazing. Even Torrey, who doesn't usually get very excited about food (I know, I know; I don't understand either), really enjoyed our dinner. Other than that the day wasn't terribly exciting since we were both out all day, but we will make up for it this weekend, since we are going out of town for Thanksgiving. It is always nice to get away from LA for a few days, so we are really looking forward to driving up to the Bay area to visit Torrey's Grandma. I'm sure that by the time we get back I will have some new pictures to put up. For now I have to go finish my last day of work before the break. Chao.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Old Strobes


Just in case anyone out there may be contemplating using an older flash with their new digital camera as I have been doing, I thought I should pass on a caution I recently was made aware of. Apparently I got a bit lucky with my experimentation, as this web site reveals. I ran across it on the Strobist's blog (a very nice site for learning about using strobes in photography). Anyway, the first link there is for a list of a whole slew of flashes with their trigger voltages. Quoting from that page,
"Some strobes (and infrared strobe triggers) use high voltages in the trigger circuit. For mechanical cameras, this is fine — but many newer, electronically-driven cameras (especially electronic 35mm SLRs like the EOS or digicams — or for that matter, EOS digicams, like the 300D) can be damaged by excessive strobe voltages."
If you can't read the flash in the photo above, it says that it is a Canon 188A, which, according to the trigger voltage page, uses 4.1V in the trigger circuit - less than the allowable 6V. This is an old flash that I had in my closet from my manual camera collection, and fortunately it is safe to use with my digital camera. Many other old flashes are not less than 6V, and are therefore not safe to use. So, consider yourself warned. Always check to make sure that equipment not made for your camera is safe to use with that expensive new piece of digital technology.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Bite Me

The above picture is the product of a study break. I am enjoying playing around with off-camera strobing, and this is my favorite of the images I came up with during my break. I have a Hebrew test today, and I have been studying a lot for it. That is really unusual, because typically with my language classes I keep up with everything well enough that I don't really need to study for tests. Hebrew has been a bit different though, and I am way behind on my vocab and paradigms, so I study. This weeks is the annual Evangelical Theological Society's conference, which many Talbot professors are participating in, so I had no class yesterday afternoon or this morning. Yesterday I was able to pick up our 'new' car, and today I was able to study Hebrew. Ah, what fun. It is certainly nice to have another car though and to have that burden no more. Torrey doesn't like the car because it is black. I do like it because as far as I can tell, everything that is not working in our old car does work in the new one. Of course by new I don't really mean new. It is a '96 Camry with 110,000 miles on it - quite a step up from our '92 Camry with 260,000 miles on it. It will somehow be sad to see the old car go, though I'm not really sure why. Oh well, life moves one. Here is another 'study break shot' in parting.

It's Greek To Me

Friday, November 2, 2007

Cars, etc.


A couple of weeks ago I build a gizmo that allows me to fire a flash off-camera. It is a wired device, so I can only be as far away from the flash as my dollar store speaker-wire allows me to be, but it does enable me to take some cool shots I couldn't get otherwise. Take for example the bouganvilla flower above. This nifty shot was taken with a sheet of white paper arched over the top of this scene, with the flash fired at the top of the arch from the left side. Pretty cool if you ask me. I also used it to add some fill light to these crazy purple guayabas that I found while jogging around the block (no, I don't go jogging with my camera. I went back later on a walk with Torrey).

Purple Guayabas

For the last couple of weeks we have been looking for a new car. Our present one has nearly 260,000 miles on it, and a mechanic told us that it shouldn't be on the road and that it isn't worth putting money into. So, we are looking for another ride. That has proved to be quite a pain in my estimation, and I am growing to dislike salesmen very strongly. If at all possible, I will not buy a car from a professional salesman. I guess it can't really be that bad in the end, though. The car we have now has served us well, and I bought it from a one-eyed Mexican with a pirate style eyepatch. Torrey can't believe I did that. But it turned out well.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back to JT Again


This past week I had a few days off school, so I took advantage of the chance to escape the city again for a spell. This time the trip was for a day of rock climbing with Josh, a friend from Talbot. Because I put off my homework to spend an entire day running around the desert, I am doing it now, which means I don't have much time to write about the events of the day. Suffice to say it was great to get out and do something active, and it was equally grand to spend the day with a friend I haven't seen much in the past year. Thanks, Josh! I had a great time. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy, and a few more can be seen here.

Climbing Barefoot




Serious Climbing


Monday, October 15, 2007

Camping In Joshua Tree


For a very long time, Torrey and I managed to get out camping an average of once a month. But lately we have become far too busy, and before last weekend, we had not spent the night in our tent since our backpacking trip in late May. We finally got away again, and it was soooo nice to be out. We decided to go for just one night, leaving Saturday morning and coming back on Sunday. When we arrived we were told that all the campsites had been full the night before, and there were no guarantees of finding an open site. Fortunately, lots of people cleared out Saturday morning, and we found an awesome site that is far from the road and from other campers.


I took lots of pictures of our food, joking about starting a food blog. I won't do that, but we did have really tasty hobo dinners and biscuits from the dutch oven.

Dinner Time

Dutch Oven Cooking

It was an absolutely gorgeous night.

JT by Firelight

The stars were amazing. Here is a constellation I learned to recognize while we were out. Do you know what it is? If you do, leave me a comment and show me how star-smart you are. If I had a prize to give I would offer it, but instead you will just earn bragging rights if you are correct. Here is a clue - late at night in October you will see this constellation setting in the west. It may help to view a larger version.


We spent a good chunk of the evening sitting around the fire enjoying the flames.

A Fire Burns in Her Eyes

In the morning we had breakfast, and while we were eating, a bizarre creature came through our camp. When Andrew was in Junior High here in California he had to make an insect collection, so my Dad and I took him out to the desert to find some specimens for his project. One of the insects we brought back home was a darkling beetle. We killed it and pinned it on styrofoam to dry, and we were surprised to find the next day that it had dripped something out of it's abdomen that melted the styrofoam from underneath it. I have been intrigued by the things ever since. Apparently it is here threatening to spew styrofoam-melting liquids on me for having disturbed it's progress across the desert.

Darkling Beetle

After breakfast we read from Philippians and talked about some of the counter-cultural aspects of the gospel (a fascinating topic that my Philippians class addresses often, and one which I intend to write about here sometime before long). We did a little hiking before we came home, and then our weekend camping trip was over. It was short, but it is absolutely amazing to me how refreshing a night out of doors can be.

I have a few more pictures from the weekend posted here should you have an interest in seeing more.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mark and Shelley Photos


Yesterday Torrey and I went with Mark and Shelley to Joshua Tree to take some engagement pictures. It was a gorgeous day out in the high desert, and we thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent with the two of them. They are a great couple and we look forward to having Mark become a part of our family in just 10 more weeks. Sounds like a very short time to me, but of course, to Mark and Shelley it feels like an eternity. Soon it will all be a memory, and we created a few yesterday along with some visual reminders in the form of photos.

Here is another for good measure:


And you can see a larger set here.

More 3D Photo Fun

3D Plant

Here is another 3D photo for your amusement. In case you have never done this before, the idea is to look at the picture in such a way that your left eye sees the image on the right and your right eye sees the image on the left. That sounds complicated but it really isn't. I find it works best to find an anchor in the picture; something that you can recognize even when it is out of focus. In this picture, any brown branch works pretty well. Then start to cross your eyes, and you will see the two parts moving together. You want to form a third image in the center that is an overlay of the two parts, so watch that anchor and use it to bring the two together. Then comes the most difficult part. Normally when you cross your eyes, it is to focus on something close to your face, but for this exercise, you need to focus on the computer screen. It can be done, but it may take some practice. When you get it, it will be well worth it. Enjoy!

The viewing experience is best if you look at this bigger version.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Late Night

Late Night

It has been a long time since I pulled an all-nighter. Last semester was terrible that way. I was so busy that any time I had a paper to do on top of my regular work, I was up all night writing it (and that happened nearly every week). This semester has been really laid back so far, and I really should have been able to avoid this, but last night I had a paper to write that took me on another adventure through the wee hours of the morning. So for a study break I played around with my camera a little and took this self portrait of me burning the midnight oil. I did go to bed for a few hours, and now at 9:30 am, I have just finished the paper. My class starts in one hour, which gives me roughly 40 minutes to add a bibliography, do a quick read-through, print the paper, jump on my bicycle and ride off to class. Right. I suppose I should get to it. This break is now officially over.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007



Torrey and I got to go to Disneyland on Monday for free. Free is, of course, always nice, especially when it relates to an expensive thing like Disneyland. Torrey's boss had given money to a fundraiser, and as a thank you, he was invited to dinner for two at Club 33 in Disneyland's New Orleans district. He wasn't interested in the tickets, and since he had been particularly demanding of Torrey around the time he received the invitation, he gave his invitation to us. Included with the invitation was admission for both parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) as well, and even though we weren't able to get off work until 2:00, we still got to go on a whole bunch of rides before dinner. I don't think we waited more than 10 minutes in line for any ride. Oh, and it is Halloween time at Disneyland, which perhaps begins to explain the pumpkin Cheshire Cat and the Candy Corn A's in CALIFORNIA. Torrey loves candy corn.


Then we went off to Club 33, where we had all-you-can-eat tri-tip, prime rib, shrimp, crab, etc., etc. The most interesting part of the whole evening came just as we were leaving the club to go home. As it turns out, the fundraiser was for a church planting ministry being run by someone affiliated with the church Torrey's boss attends. Torrey thought for sure his name sounded familiar, and finally realized that it is someone she had met on furlough in Junior High, and whose daughter had been a great encouragement to her that year. Who would have ever thought that at a dinner with a bunch of strangers in an exclusive club at Disneyland we would meet an old friend? It is a small world indeed.