Sunday, December 28, 2008

Books and Pictures

Christmas was a lot of fun. I got to spend Christmas Eve with the Mexican side of my family, and it was nice just getting to talk to my relatives. Growing up in Georgia, it felt like every trip to Utah meant that I had to re-learn all of my cousins' names, which families they were from (which aunts and uncles were their parents, etc.), and who was closest to my age. Since my parents now live here in Utah, it has been a little easier--plus, a lot of my cousins have blogs now, so it felt like I could actually talk to them about different things now.

After that, we also did our traditional movie..."It's A Wonderful Life." We've watched that movie almost every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. It's just one of those movies that doesn't seem to get old, because even though you know how it's going to end, it just makes you feel good, as if everything bad in life just disappears for a little while as you think about all the good things you have.

Plus, I've been able to get a lot of reading done. Just over the break, I've read "Hogfather," by Terry Pratchett, "The Partner," by John Grisham, and "Maniac Magee," by Jerry Spinelli. Each of them was excellent in their own right. "Hogfather" is a British satire about Christmas---basically, the Santa Claus figure is imprisoned by unbelief, and Death (the Grim Reaper himself) fills in for the day to inspire belief, because otherwise, the sun won't rise. It sounds bizarre, and it is, but it is actually pretty profound. Without giving things away, it talks about the need for faith and hope in the world.

"The Partner" was just a fun suspense story that kept me up late several nights in a row. It uses that devilish trick to suck readers in: short chapters that end in cliffhangers. The first half of the book basically ends every chapter in a cliffhanger, but the chapters are only eight to ten pages, so of course I kept saying, "Just one more chapter...just one more..."

And who could forget "Maniac Magee?" The perfect spiral punt, the frogball bunt for an infield home run, the impossible knot, running on the railroad tracks, and the list goes on. It was lying around in the living room, and I just sat down and read it in a single sitting.

Oh, and I thought I'd post a few pictures I took over the break. Man I love the new camera lens I got for my birthday...

This was a nativity scene inside our house. It was inside of a glass case, so you can see the reflection behind it. The glowing lights on the left are the reflections from the Christmas tree bouncing off of the glass case.

This was just outside on my parent's street. For all you photography people, I had the ISO set at 1600, f/1.8, shutter speed was at 1/500.

These are the same snowflakes in the image above. ISO 1600, f/1.8, shutter 1/640. I thought this one was kind of neat because the lights were twinkling when I took the picture--that's why some of the lights are white, but other lights were red, blue or green, depending on the stage of the twinkle.

Also outside on my parent's street. ISO 1600, f/1.8, shutter speed 1/640. I liked the color and contrast on this one. I would have played around with the setting a little more so you could see the snow on the ground, but it was really cold and I didn't have any gloves.


Michelle said...

I'm glad you guys live closer too. It was nice seeing you on Christmas Eve. Your pictures look great!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

THe pictures are beautiful Jon!