Sunday, December 17, 2006

Enjoying the Holidays

This time of year is very busy for us. In the space of just over two weeks we have Christmas, New Year's Eve, our Wedding anniversary, and 2 birthdays.

There have been years where this combination was dangerous. Bene' was feeling the stress of trying to make everything work perfectly. She was working her more than full time job, planning Christmas, and trying to plan the biggest 1 year old birthday party anyone has ever seen. She was driving home with soon-to-be-one-year-old asleep in the back seat. The problem is that Bene' was asleep in the driver's seat. Unrealistic expectations of perfection almost made one of the happiest times of the year into one of the worst. Thank God the mailbox she hit woke her before she went head on with a cement truck.

We see it all the time at the weddings we photograph. What is supposed to be a happy day is ruined or at least hindered by unrealistic goals of perfection. Instead of being happy that the wedding is going to happen, people obsess over tiny details that will be forgotten in a few months anyhow.

The happiest brides we work with are the ones who do not let a problem with the flowers or the cake make them angry or sad. The brides who enjoy their wedding the most tend to focus on the big picture and let all the little stuff just fall where it may. They remember that family and friends have gathered together to celebrate one of the biggest days in her life and having the wrong color baby's breath in her bouquet or a stain on the dress just doesn't matter in comparison.

Celebrating the holidays this time of year can be much the same way. Who cares if the turkey is dry, so long as the people you love are suffering through it with you, telling embarrassing stories about your childhood and laughing about that thing you did in high school.

In our house, we celebrate Christmas. The ultimate Gift was given to mankind by God about 2000 years ago. Jesus came to live among us and die for us. For a Christian, just remembering that is enough to eclipse anything that might go wrong with the meal preparations or gifts.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, even if it's Festivus, enjoy the good times, and don't let unrealistic expectations bring you down.

Finally, here is a list of 25 tips to help you enjoy the holidays, written by a friend of mine, Tony Cooke.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Windows Media Player 11 Warning - or - Why Didn't I wait for PC iTunes!?!

I am one of the 15-17 people on Earth who decided to buy digital music through a store that uses Microsoft's DRM protected .wma instead of Apple's iTunes. In my defense, I don't think iTunes was available for PC when I started buying my music online.

I've been running Windows Media Player 10 for a long time with no problems at all. That all stopped when I started my player to get a White Stripes fix yesterday. I was informed by a friendly little message that Microsoft had a new version of WMP, and I really needed it. I thought that maybe the little message was right so I ran the update and kept Jack and Meg waiting while the download and install commenced.

Everything looked good. The new windows interface was much cooler than the old Win 95 style I still run in XP. (XP looks horrible, and it's blue. How am I supposed to color correct photos with these big fat blue menu bars everywhere?) I was happy - until I tried to play some music. All the sudden these red x's are by all my songs. The error message told me that I needed a security download, but when I tried to download it nothing happened. I tried it several times before WMP crashed. I was getting pretty uptight because I've got a lot of money tied up in my music library. (No illegal music here, I believe in intellectual property rights, have to, I'm a photographer and I'd bust you if you stole my pictures.) Anyhow, I ran Windows Update and tried to restore licenses. After a while I figured out why Microsoft included a rollback option in the software. They knew it would be needed.

Thankfully, the rollback procedure worked. I uninstalled Media Player 11 and the new rights protection format through - Control Panel - Add-Remove Programs. After a couple of restarts I am now listening to Offend in Every Way as I type.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I am having more fun this Christmas than any adult should have. I was wrapping presents for our daughter today and I just cannot wait until December 24th and 25th. I haven't felt this way since I was a child. We also decorated her doll house that her Grandmother made last Christmas. It is fully equipped with lights and nutcracker statues. It's decorated better than our own house.

Just a suggestion: if you don't have your own child to buy for this Christmas than please, think about finding a child somewhere to give a gift to, because -oh my gosh- it is so much fun!!